This was sometime in April 2013. I was on my way to the class and as I was crossing the studio I crossed paths with Shabnam Sukhdev, an alumni of the Institute, who had just joined the Institute as the Outreach Officer. I learnt of it only later. But because she was regularly seen on campus I greeted her and she greeted me in return.
After the exchange of polite hellos she asked me which department I am from. When I replied, “Screenwriting,” she asked me if I was on a “contract or permanent.” She had mistaken me for faculty, I guess. I clarified: “No no. I am still a student.” After apologizing for having mistaken me for an employee she asked, “So, have you mastered the basics?” I did not understand what “basics” was being referred to by her. From Aristotle and Lajos Egri to Ken Dancyger and Jeff Rush– whose method was she referring to I tried to understand. But not thinking much I asked her directly, “What is the basic for screenwriting?”
In her own sweet way she said, “Discipline,” and smiled before adding, “For writers that is the basic and most important thing: the discipline to sit concentrate and focus.” “Isnt it?” she threw the ball in my court. I couldn’t agree more with her.